30 September 2014

Love Finds Faith by Martha Rogers

Goodreads | Amazon
Why can’t people see what is on the inside?
Hannah Dyer has just moved to Texas to help her brother-in-law in his medical practice. Despite her handicap of having one leg much shorter than the other, she is a great nurse whose skills help make the practice the most successful in the area.
When Micah Gordon returns home after some shady escapades, his father hopes he will settle down to ranch life. Hannah is smitten by his good looks and roguish ways, but because of her leg, she has no hopes of attracting his attention.
After Micah suffers a tragic loss, he loses his faith and almost loses his ranch. Can Hannah’s care and staunch faith help him on the road to recovery with a new hope, new faith, and a new love?

Martha Rogers, with Love Finds Faith, offers another sweet, historical story. This one begins several years after Love Stays True, the first novel in the Homeward Journey series, and follows Sally’s younger sister, Hannah Dyer, and the characters she encounters upon moving to Texas. I definitely liked this second novel even better than the previous one, as it had more action and dimensional characters – and the nice added peeks at the married life of Sally and Manfred Whiteman. A classic story of a prodigal returning home and finding faith, family and love, Love Finds Faith is sweet and heartwarming, though, at times, of course, frustrating. Many challenges and obstacles stand in the way of love, and a few of the characters do take their time in learning the necessary lessons. Still, I enjoyed Rogers’ Love Finds Faith and recommend it to readers who either enjoyed the first novel, like me, or are looking for an enjoyable historical romance. When I have the chance, I know I’ll be picking up the next book, Love Never Fails, of this delightful series by Martha Rogers.

Thanks to Booketeria, I received a copy of Love Finds Faith and the opportunity to provide an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, and all the opinions I have expressed are my own.

An Amish Second Christmas by Beth Wiseman, Kathleen Fuller, Ruth Reid & Tricia Goyer

Goodreads | Amazon
Celebrate Second Christmas, a treasured, lighthearted time of community, with four Amish romances.

“When Christmas Comes Again” by Beth Wiseman: Katherine knows the first Christmas without Elias will be hard for her and the children. But when a mysterious Englischer appears with photographs of her late husband, Katherine begins to wonder what other blessings Christmas could have in store.

“Her Christmas Pen Pal” by Ruth Reid: Joy was expecting a wedding proposal from Henry; what she got instead was news of another woman. But when her heartfelt letter to a cousin ends up in the hands of a young cabinetmaker, an unexpected correspondence between two strangers gets interesting fast.

“A Gift for Anne Marie” by Kathleen Fuller: Anne Marie and Nathaniel have been best friends since they were kids. Now things are evolving… in ways everyone else predicted long ago. But when her mother suddenly decides to remarry in another state, Anne Marie’s new chapter with Nathaniel looks doomed to end before it begins.

“The Christmas Aprons” by Tricia Goyer: Vanilla crumb pie has been Esther’s mem’s calling card for decades. But when Esther finally gets her hands on the secret recipe, she discovers that vanilla crumb pie is more than just dessert… it’s bachelor bait.

Only (relatively) recently did I begin allowing myself to read Amish fiction, and as a result, I am still learning much about the culture with each novel I choose to read. In this novella collection, An Amish Second Christmas, with contributions by Beth Wiseman, Ruth Reid, Kathleen Fuller and Tricia Goyer, I read about varying perspectives on the Amish tradition of celebrating two days of Christmas and it fascinated me. Each story is uniquely distinct yet equally charming, with its own spin on the heartwarming love, family and friendship I have come to expect in Amish fiction. I loved and enjoyed each of the four novellas and at each ending, felt filled with good feelings of Christmas cheer and spirit. An Amish Second Christmas is a sweet novella collection, perfect to read in the approaching holiday season, and I recommend it for fans of Amish fiction.

Thanks to BookLook Bloggers, I received a copy of An Amish Second Christmas and the opportunity to honestly review it. I was not required to write a positive review, and all the opinions I have expressed are my own. (I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”)

About the Authors
Award-winning, bestselling author Beth Wiseman is best known for her Amish novels, but she has also written several successful contemporary novels, set primarily in her beloved Texas, including Need You Now and The House that Love Built. Both have received glowing reviews. Beth's The Promise is inspired by a true story.

Kathleen Fuller is the author of several bestselling novels, including A Man of His Word and Treasuring Emma, as well as a middle-grade Amish series, The Mysteries of Middlefield.

Ruth Reid is a CBA and ECPA best-selling author of the Heaven on Earth series. She's a full-time pharmacist who resides in Florida with her husband and three children.

USA Today best-selling author Tricia Goyer is the author of 35 books, including the three-book Seven Brides for Seven Bachelors series. She has written over 500 articles for national publications and blogs for high traffic sites like TheBetterMom.com and MomLifeToday.com. Tricia and her husband John live in Little Rock, Arkansas where John works for FamilyLife. They have six children.

29 September 2014

Overrated: Are We More in Love With the Idea of Changing the World Than Actually Changing the World? by Eugene Cho

Goodreads | Amazon
We all want to change the world, but as pastor Eugene Cho found out, it takes more than just desire. It takes action. In this personal confession he encourages readers to discover a practical discipleship that begins with the recognition that changing the world starts with changing ourselves.

Many people today talk about justice, but are they living justly? They want to change the world, but are they being changed themselves? Eugene Cho shares his story, a messy, painful story of being more in love with the ideas behind the actions than counting the cost and being a world-changer in action. Because everyone loves justice and compassion, but few have taken it upon themselves to truly live it out in their own lives. Cho is still on that journey to discover what it means, and invites readers to join him.

Overrated by Eugene Cho is a book with an important message – one, I know, I really needed to read. In this day and age, I can quickly see both the appeal of the idea of changing the world and the lack of few results beyond a quick post on Facebook or Twitter. As he writes, Cho wrestles with this society-wide obsession and admits many things that need admitting. He covers many aspects of the pursuit of justice, and as I read, I appreciated how openly he explored and exposed his own experiences and subsequent thoughts, flaws and all. While deeply personal, Overrated manages to transcend individual experience and excellently engages a widespread mindset. Rooted in passion, humility, humor and Gospel truths, Overrated is convicting and impossible to ignore. Any follower of Christ should read it, discuss it, reflect on it, act on it. Don’t wait to pick up a copy of Eugene Cho’s Overrated. I definitely recommend it.

Now, don’t miss this! Enter for a chance to win a copy of Eugene Cho’s Overrated before the giveaway ends on October 12th. It is open to the U.S. and Canada only. Please, only one entrant per mailing address. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. The winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

The Sacred Year: Mapping the Soulscape of Spiritual Practice - How Contemplating Apples, Living in a Cave, and Befriending a Dying Woman Revived My Life by Michael Yankoski

God is at work everywhere. And every-when. We only need to open our eyes and take the time to notice.

Michael Yankoski became jaded and disillusioned with his life as a Christian motivational speaker, feeling as though he was another act in the “Christian Carnival.” Religion started to become a façade instead of a deep, nourished, lived experience of faith. He knew he needed to stop talking about his faith and begin living and practicing it. In a sort of desperation, Michael dedicated the next year to engaging various spiritual practices, and The Sacred Year is a firsthand account of the downs and ups, the failures and successes of an honest search for answers to the human yearning for life, love, and God. It’s time to stop talking about your faith and begin living and experiencing it.

Join Michael and #EmbraceTheSacred—seek out God at work in the mundane and attend to what God is doing in your life. Share those moments on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and make sure to use the tag #EmbraceTheSacred.


As a thank-you for ordering The Sacred Year, Michael is giving away a free ebook! Email your proof of purchase of The Sacred Year to TheSacredYear@gmail.com, and you will receive A Straightforward Guide to Three Essential Spiritual Practices ebook for FREE! Learn more here.


About the Book

Goodreads | Amazon
Frustrated and disillusioned with his life as a Christian, motivational speaker Michael Yankoski was determined to stop merely talking about living a life of faith and start experiencing it. The result was a year of dedicated to engaging in spiritual practices, both ancient and modern, in a life-altering process that continues to this day. Whether contemplating an apple for an hour before tasting it (attentiveness), eating on $2.00 a day (simplicity) or writing simple letters of thanks (gratitude), Michael discovered a whole new depth through the intentional life.

Stirred on by the guiding voice of Father Solomon, a local monk, Yankoski's life is slowly transformed. Both entertaining and heart-wrenching, Yankoski's story will resonate with those who wish to deepen their own committed faith as well as those who are searching – perhaps for the first time – for their own authentic encounter with the Divine.
Wow. Michael Yankowski’s The Sacred Year impressed me in ways I did not initially expect. A personal and straightforward account of Yankowski’s attempts at authentically engaging his faith through spiritual practices, this book is simply beautiful – entirely insightful, intriguing, thought-provoking. So many statements in this well-written narrative captured me unexpectedly and made me pause, reflect, think. It offers an invitation to take a step back from the busyness, for examination and engagement, which is often desperately needed these days. I know I certainly needed the lessons and the reminders that fill Yankowski’s journey and I imagine they will be memorable for days, weeks, months, years to come. The Sacred Year is compelling and delightful and I cannot recommend it enough. Reading this book is worth every second.

Thanks to LitFuse Publicity Group, I received a copy of The Sacred Year and the opportunity to provide an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, and all the opinions I have expressed are my own. To read other opinions, be sure to check out what other reviewers think here.

About the Author
Michael Yankoski is a writer, aspiring theologian, and urban homesteader who dreams of becoming a competent woodworker, musician, and sailor. He received his MA in theological studies at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia, is a (novitate) Oblate of St. Benedict, and has authored four books. Michael grew up in Colorado, feels at home on the Pacific Coast, and currently resides in Indiana, where he and his wife are pursuing PhDs at the University of Notre Dame.

Learn more about Michael at his website, Twitter and Facebook.

26 September 2014

Behind You by Carly M. Duncan

About the Book

Goodreads | Amazon
When a mysterious attack lands Heather in the hospital on the brink of death, her family rushes to her side. Through an inconvenient maze of shadowed memory and family secrets, Heather can trust only herself to discover if her husband, parents, sister or aunt tried to kill her. During the course of their narratives, each character confesses to their various crimes of passion, envy and ignorance, weaving Heather's mystery into an untraditional tale about seizing the opportunity to start over.

What an intriguing, twisted read. From the start, Carly M. Duncan’s Behind You held my rapt attention and I couldn’t put the book down. With brilliant storytelling techniques, Duncan expertly maintains the suspense and suspicion until the very end and made me keep guessing and guessing. Heather and her family members each have the chance to give (flawed) first-person accounts of the events, and just when I thought I knew all the details, a character would throw out a new revelation. With all the secrets and family drama, I didn’t know who I could trust to tell me the whole story – and that definitely kept me interested and engaged. I have not read a book like Behind You recently, and I really enjoyed it. I would recommend it for fans of mystery and suspense.

Thanks to Carly M. Duncan and Pump Up Your Book, I received a copy of Behind You and the opportunity to provide an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, and all the opinions I have expressed are my own.

§  Behind You is available at Amazon.

About the Author
Carly M. Duncan is a television producer by day and a writer whenever there is time. Her first short story was published when she was in high school after a writing group prompted her to begin blogging before it was cool. Carly’s debut novel, Marcie, was released in 2013. Though she’ll forever be a California girl at heart, she now lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband, two children and beloved Westie.

§  Visit Carly M. Duncan’s website.
§  Connect with Carly on Facebook and Twitter.
§  More books by Carly M. Duncan.
§  Contact Carly.

25 September 2014

Joyful by Shelley Shepard Gray

Don't miss Shelley Shepard Gray's newest book in the Return to Sugarcreek series, Joyful. USA Today raved: "A sweet, straightforward story about how love can be tested by family, faith, and personal insecurity. Enjoyable and heartwarming."

Click the banner for a chance to win books 1-3 in Shelley's Return to Sugarcreek series! 
Winner announced on Shelley's blog on 9/30.


About the Book

Goodreads | Amazon
Randall Beiler is doing his best to put his family and the farm's needs first, even forsaking love. But though he tries, Randall knows he needs help caring for his younger siblings and keeping the house together.

When his brother offers pretty Elizabeth Nolt a job taking care of the house and cooking for the family, Randall is furious – and guilty about the way he once broke Elizabeth's heart. But when he learns that Elizabeth and her grandmother are struggling to make ends meet, he knows the offer, no matter how painful, is the right thing for everyone.

Elizabeth wants to refuse – to stay far away from the man who hurt her – but she needs the money. Though she vows to protect her heart, spending time in the Beiler household makes Elizabeth realize that, while she's older and wiser, her love for Randall still burns strong.

Randall, too, seems to want something more. But does he want Elizabeth because he truly loves her – or because he needs a housekeeper? If Randall sincerely wants something more, he must find a way to show Elizabeth – or risk losing his chance at love forever.

The third novel in Return to Sugarcreek, Shelley Shepard Gray’s Joyful is an enjoyable, heartfelt read. Though I have not yet read the previous two books in the series (Hopeful and Thankful), I immediately connected with the characters and invested in their story without feel like I missed too much by not knowing the complete histories of the town. As Joyful follows the stories of three couples (but primarily Randall Beiler and Elizabeth Nolt), Gray tells a story of second chances and finding joy, love and contentment. It’s a sweet, encouraging story as each couple experiences important, understandable growth, and I continually hoped each couple would make the most of their second chance. I think fans of Return to Sugarcreek will enjoy this novel even more than I did, so I recommend it. I look forward to reading more from Shelley Shepard Gray in the future.

Thanks to LitFuse Publicity Group, I received a copy of Joyful and the opportunity to provide an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, and all the opinions I have expressed are my own. To read other opinions, be sure to check out what other reviewers think here.

About the Author
Shelley Shepard Gray is a two-time New York Times bestseller, a two-time USA Today bestseller, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time Holt Medallion winner. She lives in Southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town's bike trail.

Learn more about Shelley at her website

24 September 2014

Hidden in the Stars by Robin Caroll

Don't miss the newest Quilts of Love book, Hidden in the Stars by Robin Caroll. September's QOL release is a wonderful combination of mystery, romance, and family love bound together by a quilt and the story it tells.

Hidden in the Stars Robin Carroll Quilts of Love

Enter to win a "Night on the Town" (a $200 Visa cash card!) and RSVP for the "Fall into Fall" Quilts of Love Facebook party on 10/7.
One winner will receive:
  • A $200 Visa cash card (The perfect accessory for a "night on the town"!)
  • A Grand Design by Amber Stockton
  • Hidden in the Stars by Robin Caroll
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on October 7. Winner will be announced at the October 7th author chat party with Amber Stockton and Robin Caroll! RSVP for an evening of book chat, quilting tips and tricks, prizes, and more!

RSVP today and spread the word - tell your friends about the giveaway via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on October 7th!

About the Book

Goodreads | Amazon
A quilt holds the secret to a killer still at large - and who his next victim will be.

Following an attack that killed her mother and stole her ability to speak, 21-year-old Sophia Montgomery has no choice but to accept her estranged grandmother's offer to return to their family home. Although detective Julian Frazier is working hard on the case, Sophia unknowingly frustrates him because her inability to speak thwarts her eyewitness evidence. The fact that Julian is undeniably attracted to Sophia doesn't help either, so Julian hides his feelings as concern for a trauma victim and focuses instead on finding the killer. 

Little do they know, the clues to solving the case may be right in front of them, displayed in Sophia's mother's "special" quilt design. Who will realize the secret Sophia's unwittingly been hiding in plain sight? When the truth comes to light, will Sophia find her voice again? Or will the murderer - still at large - silence her forever?

In Hidden in the Stars, Robin Caroll tells a story that kept me intrigued from beginning to end. To begin, Sophia Montgomery, an aspiring Olympic gymnast, wakes up in the hospital with flashbacks to the night two men attacked her and murdered her mother. She then works with Detective Julian Frazier as he tries to solve the case, and Sophia quickly discovers perspective-changing information about her mother and her history she never expected. With mystery, suspense, romance and a quilt that holds the answers, this fast-paced story of love, sacrifice and faith is highly enjoyable and quick to read. I recommend it.

I only recently picked up my first Quilts of Love book (A Grand Design), so I’m new to the series. But after reading Hidden in the Stars as well, I can easily say I am a fan – and I think other fans of the series will enjoy it, too. I am definitely looking forward to reading the next Quilts of Love book now.

Thanks to LitFuse Publicity Group, I received a copy of Hidden in the Stars and the opportunity to provide an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, and all the opinions I have expressed are my own. To read other opinions, be sure to check out what other reviewers think here.

About the Author
Robin Caroll is the author of 22 published novels. When she isn't writing, Robin spends time with her husband of 20-plus years, her three beautiful daughters and two handsome grandsons, and their character-filled pets at home in Little Rock, Arkansas. She gives back to the writing community by serving as conference director for ACFW. Her books have been named finalists in such contests as the Carol Award, HOLT Medallion, Daphne du Maurier, RT Reviewer's Choice Award, Bookseller's Best, and Book of the Year.

Connect with Robin at her website, Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.

About the Series
Quilts tell stories of love and loss, hope and faith, tradition and new beginnings. The Quilts of Love series focuses on the women who quilted all of these things into their family histories. A new book releases each month and features contemporary and historical romances as well as women's fiction and the occasional light mystery. You will be drawn into the endearing characters of this series and be touched by their stories.

Waiting on Wednesday: Love Without End

Hosted weekly by Breaking the Spine 
to spotlight eagerly-anticipated upcoming releases.

Goodreads | Amazon
Title: Love Without End
Author: Robin Lee Hatcher
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Expected Publication Date: 18 November 2014

Chet and Kimberly have both failed when it comes to love. Will they risk their hearts to love again?

Chet Leonard's life was forever changed when his seventeen-year-old son died and then, soon after, his wife walked out on their family. Over two years later, all he wants to do is hold onto his horse ranch and raise his remaining sons to be honorable men.

Kimberly Welch, widowed mother of Tara, a rebellious fifteen-year-old, has reached the end of her finances and nearly the end of her rope. She and Tara come to King's Meadow to try to piece their lives back together again. Kimberly has no intention of become involved with the residents of this remote mountain community and certainly not with any man.

When 84-year-old Anna McKenna returns to King's Meadow and to the Leonard ranch, she becomes an agent of change and healing for the two hurting families. With her help, Kimberly and Chet's families at last discover a love without end.

Why I'm Waiting: Ever since reading The Heart's Pursuit, I've been meaning to read more novels by Robin Lee Hatcher.

23 September 2014

Magnolia Market by Judy Christie

Goodreads | Amazon
The self-help books lied: fresh starts aren’t nearly as glamorous as they appear. And love isn’t any easier the second time around.

Avery Broussard was savoring her long-dormant optimism. It was the first anniversary of her husband’s death, and she was finally going to buy the dress boutique from her former mother-in-law. After a year of saving, the deal was nearly done. Avery was about to get her life back.
But every deal in Samford, Louisiana, can change at the whim of a Broussard.

After being unceremoniously ejected from the very boutique she planned to buy – the boutique she herself had rescued from ruin – she becomes a woman without a future… suddenly at war with her late husband’s family.

When carpenter T. J. Aillet begins working for the Broussards doing manual labor, he overhears enough to know that Avery is being victimized. Soon enough, T. J. is lassoed into the squabble by his family connections, his good heart… and the undeniable attraction he feels toward Avery.

But the Aillets are no strangers to Samford society – and T. J. knows what happens when you cross the Broussards. Could these two misfits ever make a start together? Or will the pressures of Samford society pull them apart before they even get a chance to try?

I’m always a bit wary when I choose to read a novel in a series without having read the previous one(s) – but sometimes a synopsis just grabs my attention and I can’t stop myself. In this case, I picked up Judy Christie’s Magnolia Market, the second in her Trumpet & Vine series, before reading Sweet Olive. Luckily, I didn’t have any problems with my reading experience. I absolutely loved the trip to Samford, Louisiana with Avery Broussard, a completely genuine and likeable character. Avery’s story of fresh starts, friendship and urban renewal is charming, delightful and inviting with its Southern small-town feel (though for many of the first chapters, I felt frustrated on Avery’s behalf as her in-laws continued to berate and abuse her).

I should mention that in the construction of this novel, Christie does employ an interesting writing style, which at times felt a bit disjointed to me. Sometimes, characters would suddenly act or make decisions without any given build-up in previous chapters or paragraphs – but ultimately, I found that this did not take away from the story.

I plan to see what will happen next at Trumpet & Vine in the future and will definitely read Sweet Olive when I have the chance, since I wholeheartedly enjoyed Magnolia Market. I thank BookLook Bloggers for my copy of Magnolia Market and the opportunity to honestly review it. I was not required to write a positive review, and all the opinions I have expressed are my own. (I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”)

About the Author
Judy Christie writes fiction with a Louisiana flavor. She is the author of the Green series of novels, including Gone to Green. A fan of primitive antiques and porch swings, she blogs from her green kitchen couch at her website. She and her husband live in northern Louisiana.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books on My Fall TBR List

Hosted weekly by The Broke and the Bookish.

22 September 2014

Thief of Glory by Sigmund Brouwer

Take a peek at Thief of Glory here.
Goodreads | Amazon
A boy coming of age in a time of war…
The love that inspires him to survive.
For ten year-old Jeremiah Prins, the life of privilege as the son of a school headmaster in the Dutch East Indies comes crashing to a halt in 1942 after the Japanese Imperialist invasion of the Southeast Pacific. Jeremiah takes on the responsibility of caring for his younger siblings when his father and older stepbrothers are separated from the rest of the family, and he is surprised by what life in the camp reveals about a woman he barely knows – his frail, troubled mother. 

Amidst starvation, brutality, sacrifice and generosity, Jeremiah draws on all of his courage and cunning to fill in the gap for his mother. Life in the camps is made more tolerable as Jeremiah’s boyhood infatuation with his close friend Laura deepens into a friendship from which they both draw strength. 

When the darkest sides of humanity threaten to overwhelm Jeremiah and Laura, they reach for God’s light and grace, shining through his people. Time and war will test their fortitude and the only thing that will bring them safely to the other side is the most enduring bond of all.

Thief of Glory by Sigmund Brouwer is a bit of a change from the feel-good romances I’ve been reading recently, but I have been eagerly waiting to read this novel ever since I first read the synopsis. Thankfully, it did not let me down. Brouwer offers his readers a unique, enticing tale of World War II, inspired by the actual childhood experience of his father. Before this novel, I had never learned of the devastation the Dutch people experienced at the hands of the Japanese in the Dutch East Indies, but Brouwer’s tale vividly conveys the eye-opening history through the lens of ten-year-old Jeremiah Prins. I really loved the narration Jeremiah gives of his years in the Japanese internment camp. Telling the story as an eighty(ish)-year-old man looking back on his ten-year-old self, he ably and believably combines youthful authenticity and mature reflection, along with well-timed bits of foreshadowing. His story is tragic and heart-wretching, yet does not lack hopeful redemption. It’s a fascinating read and I highly recommend it to fan of historical fiction.

Thanks to Blogging for Books, I received a copy of Thief of Glory and the opportunity to provide an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, and all the opinions I have expressed are my own.

21 September 2014

A Bride in Store by Melissa Jagears

Goodreads | Amazon
Impatient to meet her intended groom and help him grow his general store, mail-order bride Eliza Cantrell sets out on her travels a week early. But her plan goes sadly awry when her train is held up by robbers who steal her dowry and Axel, her groom-to-be, isn't even in town when she finally arrives.

Axel's business partner, William Stanton, has no head for business and would much rather be a doctor. When his friend's mail-order bride arrives in town with no money and no groom in sight, he feels responsible and lets her help around the store – where she quickly proves she's much more adept at business than he ever will be.

The sparks that fly between Will and Eliza as they work together in close quarters are hard to ignore, but Eliza is meant for Axel and a future with the store, while Will is biding his time until he can afford medical school. However, their troubles are far from over when Axel finally returns, and soon both Will and Eliza must decide what they're willing to sacrifice to chase their dreams – or if God has a new dream in store for them both.

I always find reading a Western historical romance novel such a fun treat, and of course, Melissa Jagears’ A Bride in Store is no exception. After recently reading A Bride for Keeps, the first book in Jagears’ Unexpected Brides, I could not wait to pick up this second crazy mail-order bride adventure and revisit the familiar Kansas town and its characters. In this story, Eliza Cantrell sets out earlier than planned to meet her arranged groom, Axel Langston, and encounters train robbers en route. Then, after arriving in town, Eliza finds her groom missing and while waiting for him, must work in close proximity to his handsome, kind-hearted business partner, William Stanton. The series of nearly comical and unfortunate mishaps naturally continues as Eliza and Will unexpectedly develop feelings for one another and then Axel returns to town. In sorting through these circumstances, Jagears tells a heartfelt tale of achieving dreams, making sacrifices for those dreams and believing self-worth. I loved it immensely and believe other fans of Western historical romance will enjoy it as well. Now, I’m eager to see who is next to the altar in the series. I can’t wait.

Thanks to Bethany House, I received a copy of A Bride in Store and the opportunity to provide an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, and all the opinions I have expressed are my own.

20 September 2014

Love's Fortune by Laura Frantz

About the Book

Goodreads | Amazon
Sheltered since birth at her Kentucky home, Rowena Ballantyne has heard only whispered rumors of her grandfather Silas's vast fortune and grand manor in Pennsylvania. When her father receives a rare letter summoning him to New Hope, Rowena makes the journey with him and quickly finds herself in a whole new world – filled with family members she's never met, dances she's never learned, and a new side to the father she thought she knew. As she struggles to fit in during their extended stay, she finds a friend in James Sackett, the most valued steamship pilot of the Ballantynes' shipping line. Even with his help, Rowena feels she may never be comfortable in high society. Will she go her own way… to her peril?

With her signature attention to historical detail, Laura Frantz brings 1850s Pennsylvania alive with a tender story of loss, love, and loyalty. Fans will cheer for this final installment of the Ballatyne saga.

I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to pick up one of Laura Frantz’s Ballantyne Legacy novels, since these novels have been sitting on my TBR list for a while now (and with such beautiful, eye-catching covers, too). But I’m definitely glad I finally had time for Love’s Fortune. Admittedly, as the third and concluding novel for the series, it may not have been the best choice for me to read first, but as I read, I didn’t feel like anything went entirely over my head. So, it is possible to read on its own – though now I am eager to read more of the Ballantyne family history in Love’s Reckoning and Love’s Awakening.

Love’s Fortune delivers a grand tale of both a family and a romance against a vivid and articulate backdrop of 1850s Pennsylvania. Rowena “Wren” Ballantyne quickly finds her simple life turned upside down and thrown completely into the high Ballantyne lifestyle. The journey into society for this admirable social misfit is not an easy one, as she must come to grips with her desire for home and the bombardment of new family obligations. But in navigating the prim and proper society of Pittsburgh, Wren begins to find a bit of solace and reassurance with James Sackett, a man deeply respectful and loyal to the Ballantyne family. Their developing relationship is slowly building and oh-so-complicated, fraught with assumptions and misunderstandings, and naturally, I couldn’t help but continually hope for and root for them to finally find a happily-ever-after romance. From beginning to end, I loved every bit of their captivating and enticing story, and I believe fans of the series will love it, too. Definitely pick up Laura Frantz’s Love’s Fortune.

Thanks to Revell Reads, I received a copy of Love’s Fortune and the opportunity to provide an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, and all the opinions I have expressed are my own.

About the Author
Laura Frantz is a lover of history, is the author of The Frontiersman's DaughterCourting Morrow Little, and The Colonel's Lady, and currently lives in the misty woods of Washington with her husband and two sons.

19 September 2014

Appaloosa Summer by Tudor Robins

About the Book

Goodreads | Amazon
Sixteen-year-old Meg Traherne has never known loss. Until the beautiful, talented horse she trained herself, drops dead underneath her in the show ring.

Jared Strickland has been living with loss ever since his father died in a tragic farming accident.

Meg escapes from her grief by changing everything about her life; moving away from home to spend her summer living on an island in the St. Lawrence River, scrubbing toilets and waiting on guests at a B&B.

Once there, she meets Jared; doing his best to keep anything else in his life from changing.

When Jared offers Meg a scruffy appaloosa mare out of a friend’s back field, it’s the beginning of a journey that will change both of them by summer’s end.

Appaloosa Summer can be compared to the TV show, Heartland.

Tudor Robins’ Appaloosa Summer is a perfectly refreshing and lovely YA read. Virtually drama-free, this novel did not have me gasping in surprise, anxiously biting my nails or groaning in frustration as some YA novels are prone to do, and I really enjoyed its relaxed nature. Instead of action and angst, its plot develops out of the growth of characters and relationships – but it still pulled me in and urged me to turn pages, as all the characters are easy to like and love. Meg is especially sweet, while Jared is absolutely charming, and their romance (thankfully far from insta-love) sweetly builds from an established friendship. All in all, Appaloosa Summer is a wonderful, light summer read, and I certainly recommend it to YA fans.

Thanks to Tudor Robins and Pump Up Your Book, I received a copy of Appaloosa Summer and the opportunity to provide an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, and all the opinions I have expressed are my own.

About the Author
Tudor Robins is an Ottawa-based young adult author whose first novel, Objects in Mirror, was named a Best Book for Kids and Teens by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre.

She gathered publishing-related experience in her roles as a magazine editor and publishing sales representative, as well as working in offset and digital printing. Tudor currently teaches writing workshops for adults and children, as well as developing writing contests and programming to motivate young writers.

Tudor loves reading, writing, and horseback riding, and spending time with her husband and two sons.

Appaloosa Summer is now available in paperback through Amazon and can also be purchased in the Kindle store.

Receiving messages from readers is one of Tudor’s favorite things, so please feel free to visit her website and connect with her on Facebook.